Chinese AI and internet company Baidu has formed a strategic partnership with carmaker Geely to create an electric vehicle business.
The new unit will be an independent subsidiary of Baidu, the company stated, with the Beijing-headquartered company being the main shareholder and Chinese automaker Geely taking a minority stake.
Geely will manufacture the vehicles, while Baidu will be in charge of the software and technology in the cars.
Baidu has already been testing its driverless-car software, named Apollo, in public robotaxi trials in Beijing.
The company also has its own map app and voice assistant technology called DuerOS which can equip vehicles.
China’s electric-vehicle market continues to grow and is becoming more competitive.
Domestic electric-automaker Nio, Li Auto and Xpeng Motors, all reported a surge in deliveries for December.
Nio most recently released its first sedan called the et7, while Apple iPhone-maker Foxconn signed a deal with Chinese electric-carmaker Byton to help manufacture its first vehicle.
Hong Kong-listed shares of Geely were up slightly by 0.45 per cent, after rising nearly 20 per cent on Friday. Baidu’s US-listed shares were up more than 15 per cent at the close of trade on Friday.